tv Democracy Now PBS April 9, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
04/09/15 04/09/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> i am grateful to have him off the street. i am grateful to show everyone, the world, that it is not tolerated. this is not how he behaved. amy: guilty on all 30 counts, the verdict in the earth on -- boston marathon bombing case. will dzhokhar tsarnaev be sentenced to death? as the bystander who filmed the south carolina police shooting of walter scott speaks out we will look at what happened to the man who filmed eric garner's death in staten island. >> i have been harassed by cops.
anything like don't interact physically and pull out a camera. not only new yorkers getting abused by police, everywhere. i hope it gives people the coverage to not be -- courage to not be scared. it is a lot of he said/she said. amy: while no police officers were indicted for eric garner's death, the man who filmed the attack, ramsey orta, is now locked up in jail. he was first arrested the day after the coroner declared garner's death homicide. his mother brother, and wife have all been arrested. we will speak to his at and the family attorney. we will also look at the debate over growing calls to require body cameras for police officers. and we will speak to a yemeni-american man who had to escape yemen by sea after the u.s. state department refused to help citizens evacuate after the
saudi-led attack began. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a federal jury has found dzhokhar tsarnaev guilty on all 30 charges for his role in the boston marathon bombing that killed three and injured hundreds two years ago this month. tsarnaev was also found guilty in the murder of a police officer in the ensuing days. bombing survivor karen brassard welcomed the verdict. >> as a group we wanted to come out and say thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen. we're obviously grateful for the outcome today. it is not a happy occasion, but it is something we can put one more step behind us. amy: during the trial, tsarnaev's defense attorneys admitted he joined his older brother tamerlan in setting off two explosions. the jury will now choose between the death penalty and a sentence
of life without parole. massachusetts bars the death penalty, but the case is taking place at the federal level. we'll have more on the verdict after headlines. protests are underway in south carolina over a white police officers fatal shooting of an unarmed african-american man who was running away. on wednesday, dozens of people rallied outside of north charleston city hall. the victim, walter scott, had been stopped for having a broken brake light which protesters say was part of a pattern of harassment of african-americans over minor offenses. the officer, michael slager was fired by the police for on wednesday, one day after his indictment for murder. police initially backed his claims that slager feared for his life, but were forced to retract that after a witness came forward with video of the shooting. speaking at city hall, the mayor announced a new order for body
cameras. >> we received a grant to purchase 101 body cameras. [applause] >> those body cameras are on order. today, i made an executive decision and have notified my counsel -- we have are to ordered an additional 150 body cameras him as a that every officer that is on the street in uniform will have a body camera. amy: meanwhile, the witness who filmed the video has spoken out for the first time. in an interview with nbc news, feidin santana said he felt a duty to hand the footage over to walter scott's family. >> i thought about their situation. if i were to have a family member that would happen, i would like to know the truth about this. that is the reason i gave -- i returned the video to them.
amy: in yemen, saudi led airstrikes targeting who the rebels are continuing with reports of fierce fighting in the city of aden. former strong hold of hadi. reports of a rockets landing on people's homes. the world health organization reports at least 600 people have killed and 2200 wounded since the conflict between the houthis and those loyal to hadi corrupted. meanwhile, the obama and administration us facing criticism for failing to evacuate its citizens from yemen despite lacking the saudi-led bombing campaign will stop we will be speaking with a citizen who evacuated himself back to the united states, later in the broadcast. iran has asked pakistan to reject involvement in the saudi arabia-led military campaign in yemen. the saudi government sought pakistan's help this week in what was seen as a prelude to a potential ground invasion. the comments, secretary of state
john kerry has called out iran for what he says is tehran's heavy backing up houthi rebels. he said the u.s. will not tolerate entries "that engage in over or fair cross boundaries and other countries." >> we're concerned about what is going on there. it is just not a fact. they happen, there are obviously supplies that up and coming from iran. there are a number of flights every single week that of an flying in. we traced those flights. we are well aware of the support iran has been giving yemen. iran needs to recognize that the united states is not going to stand by while the region's destabilized or while people engage in over warfare across the lines, international boundaries and other countries. amy: his commas come one day after the pentagon said it would
expedite u.s. weapon shipments to aid the saudi led military campaign in yemen. the international committee of the red cross is calling for immediate access to the syrian refugee camp which is under siege by the islamic state. the red cross said emergency medical care is urgently needed for residents trapped by violence and lacking basics like water. a spokesperson for the human secretary-general ban ki-moon said the situation is dire. >> the situation remains extremely tense with streetfighting continuing and unconfirmed reports oferial bombardment to civilian areas. extremely alarmed at the sustain hostilities as they continue to inflict unimaginable pain and suffering to the 18,000 palestinian and syrian men women, and children trapped inside yarmouk. they remain unable to safely access water, food, and basic health care. amy: three u.s. soldiers have been wounded in afghanistan after coming under fire from an
afghan counterpart. the shooting in kabul followed a meeting between afghan and u.s. officials. three american contractors were killed by an afghan soldier in january. a high court in pakistan has ordered criminal charges against two cia officials for a deadly drone strike in 2009. john rizzo, the cia's former acting counsel, and jonathan bank, the agency's ex-station chief, would face charges including murder, terrorism and conspiracy. bank fled pakistan in 2010 after his cover was blown. pakistani authorities had lobbied against the case, saying it could jeopardize ties with the united states. it will be up to police to formally file the charges. the court's action follows a five-year campaign by karim khan, who lost his teenage son and brother in the 2009 attack. in a statement, khan said -- "[this is] a victory for all those innocent civilians killed in us-led drone strikes. as a citizen of pakistan i feel somewhat reaffirmed that perhaps people like me from waziristan
might also be able to get justice for the wrongs being done to them." human rights advocates and family members of victims are celebrating a pair of victories in long campaigns to deport salvadoran generals accused of u.s-backed atrocities. on wednesday, former general carlos eugenio vides casanova was deported to el salvador from the u.s., ending a 16-year legal battle. in a ruling last month, the board of immigration appeals found there is ample evidence general vides was complicit in the rape and murder of four u.s. churchwomen in 1980, as well as the torture of political prisoners. he is the highest-ranking foreign military leader to be deported under a 2004 law barring bar human rights violators from u.s. soil. vides was a close u.s. government ally during his stint as defense minister for the salvadoran junta between 1983 and 1989. the churchwomen's families have fought for years to hold him and other u.s.-backed salvadoran officials responsible.
the deportation of vides comes as the u.s. government has moved to deport another salvadoran general wanted in spain. a u.n. inquiry has named inocente orlando montano as among the top military officials who approved the murder plot that led to the 1989 slaying of six jesuit priests, their housekeeper and the housekeeper's daughter. the jesuits had been outspoken advocates for the poor and critics of human rights abuses committed by the u.s.-backed arena government. montano lived in boston for about a decade before being arrested in 2011. he was sentenced in 2013 on charges of immigration fraud for lying about his background. prosecutors say he came to the united states in part to avoid being brought to justice for the jesuits' murders. he is among 20 salvadorian officials who have been indicted by a spanish court. and president obama has endorsed a call to ban so-called conversion therapy for
transgender people. the move came in response to a petition launched after the suicide of leelah alcorn late last year. alcorn was a 17-year-old transgender woman who walked into traffic after leaving a suicide note describing how she suffered from conversion therapy and attempts by her christian parents to change her. more than 120,000 people have signed the petition in three months. in a statement, the white house said -- "we share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth. as part of our dedication to protecting america's youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in boston
where a federal jury has found dzhokhar tsarnaev guilty on all 30 charges for his role in the 2013 boston marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260. he was also found guilty in the murder of a police officer. survivors of the attack welcomed the verdict. this is karen brassard. >> and grateful to have them off the street. i'm grateful to show everyone, the world, that it is not tolerated. this is not how we behave it. juan: during the trial tsarnaev's defense attorneys admitted he joined his older brother tamerlan in setting off two explosions, but federal prosecutors still called 92 witnesses to the stand. they set the stage for what comes next. starting next week, the jury will choose between the death penalty and a sentence of life without parole.
amy: all of this is taking place in a state that has rejected the death penalty. it has been 67 years since the last execution in massachusetts, and 14 years since its legislature refused to restore the death penalty. a recent poll by boston's npr station wbur found more than 60% of boston residents believe the admitted boston marathon bomber should receive life in prison instead of the death penalty if convicted. -- instead of the death penalty. the state attorney general has called for tsarnaev to be sentenced to life in prison. and on monday, the archbishop of boston, cardinal sean o'malley wrote -- "the defendant in this case has been neutralized and will never again have the ability to cause harm." he added -- "no matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself without ending a human life, it should do so." well, for more, we go to boston, where we are joined by james rooney, president of massachusetts citizens against the death penalty, which is the oldest anti-death penalty
organization in the country. it was founded in 1928 in response to the executions of nicola sacco and bartolomeo vanzetti. in march, he helped organize a symposium on "the tsarnaev trial: the federal death penalty in abolitionist massachusetts." welcome to democracy now! first, can you respond to the verdict? guilty on all 30 counts. >> i guess i'm not surprised. when the lead defense counsel in her opening statement says, my client did the acts he is been charged with, it makes the jury's task is easy. so even though there are 30 counts, it wasn't really that surprising that they would find an issue of james rooney -- and the issue, james rooney, of the death penalty possibility in the state of massachusetts? >> well, obviously, that is of a concern to us since we have worked long and hard to keep the death penalty out of this state.
but as i'm sure you're well aware, the federal government is a different sovereignty and can charge death cases, whether or not the state where the act took place, has the death penalty or not. in massachusetts, we assume the federal government bring a number of death multi-cases. 10 years or so ago, it charged a nurse with killing some patients. that went to trial. it also charged a man with killing in massachusetts that would to trial. this is the third death penalty case in massachusetts within a short time. amy: can you give us the history of the death penalty, going way back? your organization was founded in 1928, the oldest in the country. so talk about its history in massachusetts. what were the cases? >> the history of massachusetts is, like many other places, for
many years, massachusetts had the death penalty. twin 1640 and 47 lonelier the last execution, 345 people were executed. we had many a tour is death penalty cases. the salem witch trials are famous. one case is particularly important because it demonstrated certain weaknesses in the justice system in the state. you had questions about the fairness of the trial for these immigrants and it led to an anti-death penalty movement. that movement worked long and hard, but did not really get any success until the 1950's when one of our founders, who was the wife of one of the lawyers who represented sacco vanzetti on appeal, and convince the legislature to adopt a bill that would allow juries and a capital case not considered death as a
punishment but life in prison as the punishment. that was really the first major victory we had an early 1950's. after that, it has involved lobbying governors and legislatures and there have been some governors have opposed the death penalty and even before the u.s. supreme court in 1972 came down and abolished the death penalty in the country for a brief time, we have some success in commencing governors to not signed death warrants. you had various actions throughout that period. and then when the u.s. supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 in another case, there's more action in massachusetts. in essence, between the governor, the legislature, and the courts, over whether there should be a death penalty in this state. the court struck the death penalty down a couple of times. death penalty bills were passed
twice. a referendum was held and passed in the state, in which the public said the supreme judicial court of massachusetts could not use the massachusetts constitution clause to vacate a death penalty bill. but in the end, the final decision from the supreme judicial court was that the latest death penalty bill passed during governor kings administration, violated the u.s. constitution, in essence because it said if you pled guilty, you would get a life sentence. but if you want to trial, you risk getting the death penalty. the court felt that was an undue imposition on the right to a jury trial. that is the way it stayed. juan: you mentioned earlier the nicola sacco vanzetti case. for those not familiar with the case and has a lot of
similarities to the current situation because it was a political terrorism, supposedly, case, wasn't it? >> it was. the terrorists of the age were anarchist. in an effort to disrupt people and therefore create a new one. nicola sacco and vanzetti were deftly members of a terrorist organization. they were charged with committing to what amounts to a robbery of a payroll officer and his security guard. the alleged motive was related to their anarchist activities, and a lot of their activities came out during the course of the trial. so that became controversial as to whether or not they were convicted because the evidence really demonstrated that they committed the crime. controversy remains about that and there are views on both sides. our organization thinks nicola sacco and vanzetti were wrongly convicted, whether or not you think they did it or not because the trial ended up being
so presidential about their immigrant background -- prejudicial about the immigrant background. amy: i want to turn to john kerry speaking about the death penalty, not today, but in 1996. it was during a debate when he was running for u.s. senator of massachusetts. he was debating william weld who was then the state's governor. this excerpt begins with weld, then we hear from kerry. >> over the course of the last six years and earlier when i was in the justice department, i have had occasion to work with families of many people who have suffered the loss of loved ones through murder. and the families of police officers. i have gone to six funerals in the last three years of police officers cut down in the line of duty. i'm a proponent of the death penalty. you been a long time opponent of the death penalty, even for cop killers. could you look into the camera, perhaps a woman who is here whose son was a springfield
police officer cut down by a murderer, and tell her why the life of the man that murdered her son is worth more than the life of her son, the police officer? >> well, governor, i would say to you, i would say to her, and i would say to every citizen in this country, it is not worth more. it's not. it's not worth anything. it is scum that ought to be thrown into juncker the rest of his life and not to learn day after day the pain and hell of living with the loss of freedom and the crime committed. of the fact is governor, yes, i have been opposed to death. i know something about killing. i don't like killing. i don't figure state honors life by turning around and sanctioning killing. that is just a personal belief that i have. amy: that was john kerry in 1996. in 2002 after the september 11 attacks, senator kerry said, i support killing people who
declare war on our country are just as i was prepared to kill people personally and collectively in vietnam. your response to this, james rooney? >> i honestly agree with senator kerry's first statement. the difficulty i think we face in dealing with terrorists who are attacking us is that by and large, people who are attacking us for terrorist motives, they themselves don't seem to be all that worried about losing their lives. honestly, in the 9/11 attack, george senator kerry was responding all 19 of the bombers killed themselves along with all the people who died in 9/11. it doesn't seem to make sense to try to deal with terrorists who are perfectly willing to martyr themselves by saying the punishment to death is death, which he seemed already wish for. punishment should be something the perpetrator doesn't want. not something that appears to be
their goal. juan: james rooney, and the decision of the jury they begin deliberations next week on the death penalty, could you talk about your expectations and is it a requirement of a unanimous for it by the jury? >> i believe under the federal scheme, it is. that is not uniformly true throughout the states. kansas has a scheme in which if the jury is deadlocked then it defaults to deh. u.s. supreme court has upheld that. but the federal scheme does require that the jurors all agree. in the case i mentioned earlier in which a veterans of administration nurse was charged with death penalty crimes, convicted of those crimes, and the jury split eight for death four for life, and that ended up being a life sentence as a consequence. what is going to happen in the upcoming trial?
i think we have some preview of it from the guilt phase. it seems to me the prosecution is going to attempt to claim that tsarnaev was a dedicated jihadist and that he is a calculated, cold-blooded killer who after he kills people, goes off and buys milk. the defense is going to argue that he was a misguided youth under the sway of his older brother, whom he looked up to. amy: james rooney, as we begin to wrap up, i want to ask about what a death qualified jury means. what it means when you have a death penalty case. the selection of the jury in the case -- forget the debate over the sentencing right now. you have to agree with the death penalty, is that right? if you are against the death penalty, you cannot serve as a juror? >> and essence.
if you say you would never be willing to consider the death penalty no matter what the evidence, then you cannot serve on the trial. what you have to be up to say to serve on a death qualified jury is, if the prosecution proves its case and demonstrates that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances, i would be willing to vote for death. so you could be a nominal opponent of the death penalty, but be willing to follow the law -- amy: but it changes the nature of the jury. anyone opposes to the death penalty is at overwhelmingly jews and african-americans would not be able to serve on the trial -- during the trial. >> that's right. and the data shows that people who would fit the pool of people who would be eligible for death qualified jury, are generally more likely to vote for guilt than if you picked from our broader range of people. in this state, when you're picking a death qualified jury,
you have a lot of people of lots of different backgrounds who are opposed to the death penalty across the board or in specific cases, and so when you say the jury reflects the community, in this case, it is not the whole community, it is a much smaller segment of the community. amy: james ready, thank you for being with us president of , massachusetts citizens against the death penalty. in march, he helped organize a symposium called "the tsarnaev , trial: the federal death penalty in abolitionist massachusetts." when we come back, we will be joined by the aunt of the man who filmed not the case in south carolina, but the attack on eric garner in staten island. ramsey orta in that whole situation, is the only person to have been arrested -- not the police officers or anyone involved with the killing of eric garner, but the young man who was standing nearby and filming. stay with us.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman feidin santana with juan gonzalez. juan: in south carolina, white police officer in the city of north charleston has been fired after being charged with murder for shooting a black man in the back as he fled. michael slater said he feared for his life and claimed scott had taken his taser weapon. but video showed slager shot scott in the back at a distance
of about 15 feet. the video also appears to capture slager planting an object, possibly a gun, next to walter scott. charges were filed against the officer only after cellphone video emerged of the incident. on wednesday, the bystander, feidin santana, who filmed the killing spoke to nbc news. >> when i saw the scene, i was walking to my job and i saw mr. scott. i saw police after him, chasing him. i was on a phone call. i decided to go over there and see what was going on. what's was there a struggle? >> there was. they were down on the floor. they were down on the floor before i started recording. i remember the police had
control of the situation. he had control of scott. scott was just trying to get away from the taser. a taser, you know, you can hear the sound of the taser. amy: that was feidin santana who filmed the police killing of walter scott in north charleston, south carolina, and the apparent police planting of a taser gun once he was lying on the ground handcuffed, face down, which is not clear if he is dead or dying. the scott's family attorney described santana as a hero. chris stewart said -- "we have to really recognize the strength and fortitude and fearlessness that it took to come forward when you know you just filmed a police officer murder somebody." santana told in msnbc he he was so afraid, he considered delivery the footage but brought it to scott's family after hearing how police were
describing the shooting. juan: many people have compared feidin santana to ramsey orta who filmed the death of eric garner after he was placed in a chokehold by new york police officers. you can hear his voice on the incident saying once again "police beating up on people." >> this guy right here is forcibly china lock some of the upper breaking up a fight. -- forcibly trying to lock somebody up for trying to break up a fight. >> [indiscernible] i am minding my business. please, leave me alone. i told you the last time, please, leave me alone. >> hold on. >> don't touch me. [bleep]
>> damn, man. >> stop, stop, stop. >> thayour hands behind your head. >> i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. i can't breathe. >> once again, police beating up on people. amy: that was the video shot by ramsey orta of eric garner's death after he was placed in a chokehold by new york police officers. well, nine months after the killing of eric garner, only one person has served time in jail that is ramsey orta, the man who filmed the incident. two weeks after orta went public -- ramsey orta was arrested on a gun charge. it was two weeks after he went public with the video.
he said he was being harassed by police. we will go to that clip in a moment. ramsey orta was arrested again in february along with his mother and brother on drug charges. orta's wife was also arrested after he released the video. orta is currently locked up on rikers island. supporters of orta have accused the new york police of targeting the family for releasing the video of eric garner's death. we're joined now by three guess. lisa mercado is ramsey orta's aunt. we're also joined by william aronin and ken perry are criminal defense attorneys representing ramsey orta. thank you so much for being with us. lisa, your nephew is in rikers? >> yes. amy: why? >> falsely accused of another
accusation. amy: was it the day after the coroner announced the death of eric garner homicide that ramsey was first arrested? >> yes. amy: and then his wife was arrested after that? >> yes. amy: what did he tell you at the time what was happening to him? was he afraid? >> yes, he was afraid. juan: lisa mercado, a lot of viewers around the country don't know staten island, but it is the borough known for having the most police who live in that percentagewise in that area, so this whole issue of police harassment and your family could you talk about that? >> it is ever since the filming that ramsey did, it was a constant harassment every day on a daily basis, within hours and it could be three or 4:00 in the morning, police would ride by the home and play spotlights into the windows of the home.
amy: i want to go back to that clip ramsey orta speaking to time magazine about what he is been through since filming eric garner's chokehold death. >> i have been harassed by cops since this happened. don't direct physically pallotta camera, that is all people need. not only new yorkers getting abused by police, everywhere. i hope it gives people the courage to not be scared of these people. it is a lot of he said/she said, once you have proof. amy: last year, new york city police arrested his wife and accused her of assault. chrissie ortiz told pix 11 police have been harassing her and her husband. >> 4:00 in the morning, we are laying down, and my whole room lights up. i'm like, what is that? we look out the window and it is a police car, driving by and put the spotlight into my window. what was that for?
amy: so describe what happened with your family now with ramsey now at rikers. where is his wife? >> she is at a friends house. the entire family ended up having to relocate out of staten island. amy: because? >> because of the harassment of the police officers. juan: ken perry, can you talk about the harassment? >> it seems to be a purposeful set of circumstances, where they're going to show people don't mess with us. other than that, i'm not sure what we can really say about it. these people have had to move out of the area. part of this whole problem is
why we want to change the venue in the trial that comes up on this, because it is important he has a fair makeup of a jury. and he is not going to get that in staten island. juan: and why not? >> what we've seen so far in reaction to news articles, specially like in the paper such as "the staten island press," the anger and really some ugly things are being said about ramsey that are based very much on things the police have put out or the das office put out. there are not true. what they're doing is poisoning the well and thereby poisoning the potential jury pool. amy: the way ramsey filmed this, he was feet -- we went out to staten island the day of the major protest and we were in front of a beauty spot where eric garner was just 10 when the police attacked him. ramsey was a few feet away and
he held that cell phone firm. we can show this. the video has become world-famous. he never stopped filming. can you describe what ramsey said afterwards and how he got the film out? right now and south carolina, i'm sure you are following that, feidin santana the young man who filmed the killing of walter scott is becoming a national hero because before that, no one knew what had happened in the police version of events was accepted by the papers in by the police. the difference in the comparison of the treatment of santana and your nephew ramzi? >> the difference? i don't understand. amy: santana is talking about filming, everyone is hailing him as a national hero because he showed what to place. ramsay has gone different
treatment, though he was able to get the video out. >> yes, what's he got the video out, he got treated differently. he is in staten island, small little community, and it is just constant -- they wanted him to not put the video out. they tried to get the video from him a couple of times. amy: how? >> by searching him every time they saw him walking in the street. they have taken his phone a few times. amy: the second time he was arrested, they said to him -- he said they said, you filmed us, now we are filming you? >> those actually in "the new york daily news." amy: juan's paper. juan: in terms of the situation right now in rikers, what is the current status? >> first of all, i want to thank the community for the incredible outpouring of support we received. his gofund me has collected -- amy: explain that.
>> his wife set up a fund to try to get the community to contribute whatever they can five dollars, $10, $50, to start to add up for the amount to get out on bail. and also for the legal defense for investigators, for expert witnesses, for everything that may come up during this case in this trial. and this week, the account has gone viral and we have collected a very significant amount of money that keeps increasing. right now, money has been turned over to a bonds person, and we're just when and we're just winning for the court to process. we're hoping to get ramsey orta out of rikers soon. juan: and he has been on a hunger strike? >> i don't want to call it a hunger strike. we know there was an incident in rikers were rep was and was found in food and a number of inmates, not just ramsey, were scared and were harmed. ramsey has been afraid since
that, ever apps before that incident, the police officers were maybe wanting to hurt him. he is not eating any of the food that rikers provides. he's surviving on things that comes out of the commissary or bending machines. amy: feidin santana told msnbc he considered deleting the footage because he was afraid of what might happen to him if he came forward. >> there was a time i had thoughts in my head, i could say i won't deny that i did know the magnitude of this and i even thought about erasing the video. >> why? >> i felt my life with this information might be in danger. i tried -- i thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community and living some place else.
amy: after reading the police account of the shooting, it was then feidin santana approached the police with the footage is that he got scared and just ran out. you ultimately brought it to walter scott's family. he said it was on his conscience. will aronin, if you could comment on this, who ramsey orta to get the footage other, is sorry that he got it out given what has happened to his family? >> idle think so. -- i don't think so. can you imagine the consequences that could come up? he is a hero. it ramsey did an incredible service and that is why we are here. he showed the world and incredibly violent incident that we needed to know about. and look at the difference with south carolina and the police statement before the video came
out, which was a taser was grabbed and his service weapon was used in an appropriate level of force -- not just said by the officer himself, but the police station. thankfully, how they changed the story when i saw the video. we need to see more of this. juan: ken perry, i want ask out this whole issue of the video surfacing and poison counters with civilians that are really changing -- policing counters with civilians that are really changing. with michael brown in ferguson there was no video, but there was in cleveland. there is now in charleston, and now -- and there was in staten island. your sense of the changed nature of a please committed in counters? >> prior to this, we're seeing a lot of cops saying, such as such happened, and nobody else would be there to deny that. what is happening now is people or are beginning to believe police officers can and
july about the circumstances of arrests and of what happens, and you can just take their word because they are police officers. and that is a very necessary and good thing. i've seen too many times in trials or just because a police officer says something, that becomes gospel. and we know that is not the case. that is why this is so very important. amy: at the memorial service for air owner, the loudest applause -- for eric garner the loudest applause for this very large gathering was for ramsey orta who was sitting in the congregation. what do you want to see as we wrap up, lisa mercado? what do you want to see happen with your nephew? >> i want to see police stop harassing him and his family, and he can start over in life. he wants to continue filming, so i just want him to be safe and come home. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, lisa mercado is ramsey orta's aunt.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: the murder charges filed against north charleston police officer michael slager for fatally shooting walter scott have reignited debate over whether officers should wear body cameras. police were forced to change their story that slager fired his gun because he feared for his safety after a young man now identified as feidin santana came forward with video of the encounter he filmed on his cell phone. the video shows slager fired eight times as scott was running away from him. amy: the original police report said scott took slager's taser and that officers tried to revive him with cpr. the video appears to show neither claim is true. during a press conference about the shooting wednesday, north charleston mayor keith summey announced a new order for body cameras. >> we received a grant to
purchase 101 body cameras. [applause] those body cameras are on order. today, i made an executive decision and have notified my counsel. we've already ordered this morning and additional 150 body cameras so that every officer that is on the street in uniform will have a body cameras. amy: today, investigators are expected to release the dash-cam video from slager's patrol car. many cities have installed cameras in their patrol cars. the police executive research forum surveyed police departments in 2013 and found about one quarter of respondents required body cameras. well, for more on whether more police should wear body cameras, we are joined by jay stanley senior policy analyst with the aclu's speech, privacy and technology project. he wrote a major report in 2013 titled, "police body-mounted cameras: with right policies in
place, a win for all," and updated it this year with new ways to address civil rights concerns. we only have a few minutes, jay stanley, welcome to democracy now! can you respond to the north charleston police department saying they're getting police cameras for everyone? they're going to train them and put them on them. what you think is good about this and are you concerned about any issues around police being armed with body cameras around the country? >> again, we think overall the body cameras can be a good thing that really help address this very serious problem of police abuse that we have around the country and that many eyes are being open to, but there are concerns. we don't want them to become just another mass surveillance tool. we want to make sure they actually do provide the oversight. so the actual policies that's around the cameras, you can't just slap cameras on police officers and think you are done. you have to be surrounded with the policies of first of all
protect privacy. police officers are going into people's homes, encountered people at the worst moments of their lives, people in confidence i kind of walk and up on youtube or they may be afraid to call police for help when they needed. secondly you have to make sure the police officers can't control the video to such an extent that they can edit on the fly, turn the video off, engage in abuse, turn it back on and make it look like they're doing a proper job, when actually, they were engaging in abuse. if i were a citizen of north charleston, would say, great, hopefully, it will make an officer think twice before he or she does something like we saw on that terrible video. but i would also say, i want to know what your policies are. how are you going to enforce against police officers the policies that require them to turn them on when is any kind of law enforcement action? because if you don't do that, we will see what we have seen unfortunately, and other cities around the country where police
officers just don't turn them on or don't turn the video in, and there are no consequences for those officers. in that case, videos are probably not a good thing. they're just another surveillance tool to help the police only. amy:, we will continue to have this discussion. jay stanley, thank you for being with us senior policy analyst , with the aclu's speech privacy and technology project. we will link to your report on "police body-mounted cameras: with right policies in place, a win for all." we turn to our last segment. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: "stuckinyemen.com." that's the name of a new website started by a coalition of civil rights organizations calling on the obama administration to evacuate u.s. citizens from the war-torn country as violence claims more and more lives there. stuckinyemen.com notes -- "the united states government has an obligation to protect their citizens in foreign
nations. unfortunately, the united states government and embassies abandoned yemeni americans in february 2015." amy: governments of several countries, including ralia have sent ships to rescue the citizens from yemen however, the obama administration has effectively told american citizens to fend for themselves. the citizen say, who are stuck there. the u.s. state department's website states -- "there are no plans for a u.s. government-coordinated evacuation of u.s. citizens at this time. we encourage all u.s. citizens to shelter in a secure location until they are able to depart safely." we spend the remainder of the hour with a yemeni american who is just managed to escape the war-torn country. mokhtar alkhanshali is that they are a committed he activists in california, entrepreneur, who traveled to his family's homeland to me yemen, to work with coffee farmers. after saudi arabia began bombing yemen in march, he was unable to leave and reportedly received no help from the u.s. state department. alkhanshali eventually escaped yemen by sea, and finally returned to the united states on tuesday. he joins us now from san
francisco. mokhtar alkhanshali, welcome to democracy now! describe your ordeal. >> thank you for having me on. i'm very happy and very blessed to be here. and not happy about the way i had to come back here. i march 27, a saudi-led coalition of 10 countries began an aerial bombardment of yemen. i was there working with coffee farmers, trying to help them access western markets through my company. i was working late one night. around 2:00 in the morning, i heard extremely loud explosions all around me. i went out and looked at what looks like laser beams being shot in the sky and those were antiaircraft machine gun fire. i did not know if i was going to live to see the morning. the next morning, i tried to book a flight to leave but that night, the civilian airport had been bombed. we at a no-fly zone in effect. all they like to but he was stopped. we were in effect trapped in
yemen. thousands of yemeni americans. i tried many ways to leave. my last resort was trying to leave through the old yemeni port of mocha will st. i had a small fishing boat maybe 20 feet long. me and a friend. we crossed the red sea through oceans known for piracy. we put our lives at risk to leave. we made it to djibouti. we had limited resources. we don't have a navy. there are three u.s. navy see ships in the sea. we managed to leave on her own because the with government has effectively abandoned its citizens in yemen. juan: i would like to ask you in terms of the situation in yemen before the saudi attacks began and afterwards, what life is like there and what were your efforts to try to reach the u.s.
embassy or some sort of u.s. officials to get some help? >> since the arab spring in 2011, it has been unstable in yemen, but people could function. the airports worked. ports worked. people moved freely. what happened on the 27th was overnight, we got into a war. we were unaware of it. the u.s. embassy has been saying we were given travel advisory warnings for a few months. they had been giving those for a few years to other countries, but we had no idea what was to come. our government is providing logistical support for these attacks, so they knew about it. when those attacks happened, we had no idea that both civilian airports would be bombed. we have had no help. what the u.s. department has been saying, when we called our colleagues in yemen we have no plans as of yet of evacuating our citizens. if you need any help, we can relay your messages to your loved ones via our website.
i for one, did not want to tell my mother and father i am terrified that i might die every night. amy: but they didn't evacuate the embassy? in a want to turn to the state to permit spokesperson talking about why more is not being done to evacuate yemen, especially given the u.s. military assets in the region. >> there are no plans to evacuate americans from yemen. >> that is true. talks over the weekend, the indians have been able to evacuate, other countries have evacuated people. with u.s. having so many military assets, why can't you? >> it's not that we can. there's always a decision whether it is security or how we would do this. amy: your response to the state department spokesperson, and how, ultimately, did you get out? >> it is shameful. as of now, we are where the chinese, the russians, somali, indian, pakistani governments
e evacuating their citizens. china has evacuated over 600 of their own citizens. that answer -- i mean, look at what they're able to do with her minimal resources. our government has a lot more resources. i can't accept that answer. sorry. juan: i understand there was a situation where the united states helped to evacuate two saudi pilots who their plane malfunction, that they had to eject? >> yes, and that is just another slap in the face. two saudi pilots had to eject because their plane malfunction and the u.s. navy ship that was closed by rescued them. if they can rescue foreign nationals, why can't they rescue their own citizens? amy: mokhtar alkhanshali, did you speak with other americans who were in yemen? and what did they say? are there americans that are trapped there? and why do you think the u.s. is in helping americans?
they did, isn't that right they got your own embassy staff out of yemen? >> there are thousands of yemeni americans there. i know dozens of families are stuck there. one of my friends from new york, yemeni american, had to cancel her wedding. she is stuck there. we have facebook threads whatsapp groups, try to help each other out. for me, i received messages every day from yemeni american stuck there, asking me for help and saying please, relay our story. let people know their own citizens are stuck there. for me, i just don't know why. with my resources, i was able to escape. i put myself at great danger, but it was the only option i had. amy: mokhtar alkhanshali, thank you for being with us, they are a committed he activist and entrepreneur who traveled to his family's homeland yemen the
summer 2014 to work with coffee farmers. after saudi arabia began bombing in march, he was unable to leave and reportedly received no help from u.s. state department, which closed its embassy in yemen in february. alkhanshali eventually escaped yemen by sea, and finally returned to the united states on tuesday. that does it for our program. democracy now! is hiring a social media producer. please visit our website for details. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]